When I first installed Alias many moons ago, the only thing I remembered about the game was that I uninstalled it a short time later. And very quickly, too. There are usually only a few reasons that I uninstall a game like that, it’s usually either slow or boring at the start.
And with Alias being a game based on a TV show, I didn’t really have high hopes for it.
But after I installed it yesterday, I decided to give the game a second chance. I got past the slow tutorial, and winded up fully engrossed. In fact, I continued the game for the next 3 hours, as I grappled with completing the humongous first level – infiltrating the Monte Carlo Casino to unearth a deadly prototype weapon hidden deep in the basement.
Suffice to say, I can safely assure you that Alias has quite an element of fun to it, although the game’s quality may be questionable in some areas.
|Alias startup screen… am I watching TV?|
For those who don’t know about Alias, allow me to sum it up: It’s about a beautiful lady by the name of Sydney Bristow who leads a double life as a CIA agent. I am not a fan of the show, but I have caught some snippets of Alias before on the TV.
|With absolutely no place to hide a gun|
In the game of Alias, you control a hauntingly accurate 3D model of Syndney (who is voiced by the actress from the TV show, Jennifer Gardner). The virtual Sydney is able to perform the standard moves required of a third person action game. You may be surprised though that Sydney can also sneak, shimmy along a pipe, throw knockout punches, lift fingerprints, hack computer systems, and even more.
You will need to perform all the above because Sydney’s mission (as briefed by her co-stars) is not so simple as you are led to believe. Eventually, when Sydney meets her nemeses, Julian Sark and Anna Espinosa, you may finally get to feel a sense of belonging in the game.
|Lavishingly rendered cutscenes|
But what are the negatives points for Alias?
First off, the most serious problem in Alias is this – the third person camera view of Sydney can sometimes go awry at areas on the map where space is limited, you can overcome this by trial and error. The camera will not jiggle if you realise that Sydney is constrained to walk only in certain directions.
|Am I to hack into this computer?|
Secondly, the stealth element in the game seems to be a feature that is conveniently tagged on. In fact, there are areas where you simply have to fight your enemies. Fortunately, you don’t always have to engage with your fists. There are quite a number of weapons lying around.
Thirdly, combat is like a haphazard click-fest as you struggle to punch or clobber your enemies.
And finally, you can’t save anywhere you like… only at designated save points.
|Save only at designated checkpoints|
Here’s what I liked from Alias: Beautifully rendered cutscenes featuring the cast from the show; Sydney being able to employ enhanced vision, a mode that allows her to be aware of her enemies’ movement; and, most importantly – an interesting (but perhaps clichéd) story that grips you from the start.
All in, I think Alias is a pretty decent game. I am glad I gave it a second chance. And if you have your copy of Alias somewhere, do take it out and give the game a spin again.